HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (Saturday, Feb. 28., 2015) – The Arkansas Racing Commission unanimously approved a request by Oaklawn Saturday to add two Wednesdays to its 2015 Racing Season – March 18 and March 25 – to compensate for days lost to weather.
“We are simply trying to make the best of a bad situation,” Oaklawn General Manager, Eric Jackson said. “The last two weeks have been hard on everyone – racing fans, horsemen, jockeys, employees, Oaklawn itself – as well as local businesses. The two additional days means we will essentially be racing five days a week for the last month of our season. That is not ideal, but under these stressful circumstances, we believe it is the best option.”
Oaklawn management presented the additional dates idea to horsemen Saturday morning, and after their receiving full support, made the request to the Racing Commission at an already scheduled meeting. Management and horsemen also agreed to bring back the $75,000 Downthedustyroad Stakes, Friday, March 6, and the $75,000 Nodouble Stakes Sunday, March 8.
Steve Hobby, a top trainer at Oaklawn, who has been meeting with track officials daily this past week, said the horsemen recognize what Oaklawn is trying to do.
“They’ve been on the track night and day for almost two weeks now, trying to save racing,” said Hobby. Offering to come up with two additional race days is really appreciated, and reflects on the great working relationship horsemen have with Oaklawn management.”
The two additional days will result in a 53-day race season if there are no additional cancellations.
The 2015 live season continues through Saturday, April 11 when it culminates with the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) and three other stakes.